A spotlight on Cambridge's 2021 MLK Week of Service and Learning, led by our nonprofit partners Many Helping Hands 365 and My Brother's Keeper Cambridge.
South Asian Workers' Center work during the pandemic has been informed by culture and driven by community. Learn more about this 2019 Social Innovation Award winner.
At the Cambridge Community Foundation, we are committed to fostering the arts in our community, both as an investment in our fascinating cultural landscape and as an outlet for enrichment, wellness, and healing for our neighbors. A city that champions equitable access to its thriving artistic and cultural infrastructure builds a community in which everyone can nurture their creative voice and gain healing and agency through artistic expression. This month, we’re featuring four of our nonprofit partners who are performing vital artistic ministries in our community, enabling those at risk to find wellness and healing through the power of the creative process: Tunefoolery, The Dance Complex, Shelter Music Boston, and Urbanity Dance. Since their founding in 1994, Tunefoolery has empowered musicians recovering from mental health issues to showcase their work at over 150 events each year. Under their organizational umbrella, Tunefoolery runs a youth Education Outreach Program about mental health issues, sponsors holistic retreats for working musicians, and provides jobs and professional recording space for artists. Powered by the Cambridge Community Foundation: Tunefoolery has been a partner of the Foundation since 2005. Most recently, a $2,000 grant in Fall 2019 helped fund Tunefoolery's Music Education [...]
At the Cambridge Community Foundation, we strive to uphold Cambridge as a beacon of cultural richness. We envision a city where diverse communities spark spiritual, social, and artistic exploration; where innovation thrives; and where connections between residents are deepened across neighborhoods, cultures, and backgrounds. We believe that supporting the arts and culture in Cambridge will ensure that the unique character of our city continues to flourish and evolve. Paramount to this goal is galvanizing younger generations to contribute to the vibrant theater and film scenes, street art, and music that make the city a wonderful place to live and work. Three of our nonprofit partners — Cambridge Community Television, the Loop Lab, and the Community Art Center — are doing just that. Cambridge Community Television's Youth Media Program Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) nurtures a strong, equitable, and diverse community. CCTV provides tools and training to foster free speech, civic engagement, and creative expression while connecting people to collaboratively produce media that is responsive, relevant, and effective in a fast-changing technological environment. With a Summer Media Institute and a School Year Production Program, CCTV’s Youth Media Program allows young people in Cambridge to work as paid media artists, building vital [...]
Two high school juniors participate in Work Force's annual mock interview event. How do you break the cycle of intergenerational poverty? In Cambridge, there’s one program with proven results that takes the approach of investing in and partnering with individual, low-income students to help them graduate on time, establish fulfilling careers, and lift themselves out of public housing. The Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) Work Force is a holistic, comprehensive, program that builds networks of learning and support for low-income students living in public housing. Work Force partners with 320 students through nine years of their education, from eighth grade through matriculating students’ post-secondary education. In Fall 2019, the Cambridge Community Foundation made a major investment in the shared prosperity of our city by committing funding of $150,000 over three years to support Work Force. The Work Force has been a nonprofit partner of the Foundation for over three decades, but this is the Foundation’s most significant investment in the program to date. Seeing students through high school and college success The program has four core components: weekly afterschool workshops (social, educational, and vocational); a system of personalized adult support and case management; paid work experiences with public and [...]
In a city as prosperous as Cambridge, an astounding one out of seven residents lives in poverty and 12% of households are enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a federal food assistance program. The winter holiday season can be particularly difficult for families and individuals challenged by income insecurity or homelessness. We’re spotlighting Community Servings, Food for Free, and Project Manna, nonprofit organizations that work daily to combat hunger in our community, and the impact they make in Cambridge. Together these three impressive organizations received $25,000 from our Community Fund grants this fall. A medically tailored meal by Community Servings. Community Servings Community Servings actively engages the community to provide medically tailored, nutritious, scratch-made meals to chronically and critically ill individuals and their families. Registered dietitian nutritionists work with clients who have specific nutritional needs associated with HIV/AIDS, cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, and other life-threatening illnesses to develop individualized nutrition care plans. Powered by CCF: The Nutrition Program for Cambridge Residents Affected by Critical Illnesses provides 33,500 home-delivered, medically tailored meals to more than 100 Cambridge residents affected by a critical illness. Approximately 50% of Cambridge residents served are over the age [...]
A day of volunteering to build a more just Cambridge: Q&A with Lori Lander, founder, Many Helping Hands 365’s MLK Day of Service
Photos courtesy of Many Helping Hands 365. In 1957, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” For the past ten years, Cambridge has demonstrated a collective response to this question on Martin Luther King Day, through our nonprofit partner Many Helping Hands 365's Cambridge MLK Day of Service, one of the largest community service events in New England. Each year, the Day of Service draws thousands of volunteers together for an afternoon of service projects in Central Square. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds work side by side on projects aimed to help people in need in our community. Neighbors deliver donated food to local food pantries, make valentines for isolated seniors, sort winter clothing for shelters, design and sew fleece blankets and scarves for homeless children, teens, and adults, and more. The event is a demonstration of the values of Cambridge in action. As the Cambridge MLK Day of Service nears its 10th anniversary on Monday, January 20, we spoke to Lori Lander, one of its founders to learn more. CCF: What inspired you to start a day of service [...]
Being a high school student is a challenge, given academic expectations, social-emotional development, and planning for college or a career. It’s even tougher if you aren’t born in this country, you and your family aren’t familiar with the education landscape, and English isn’t your first language. Fortunately, Cambridge students who have immigrated can get support through Enroot, an afterschool program specifically designed to help them through high school and their first two years of college. Enroot prepares immigrant youth for academic, career and personal success through out-of-school time mentorships, tutoring, internships, and exposure to career paths and professionals. We chatted with Ben Clark, executive director, and Dananai Morgan, director of development and strategic initiatives, about Enroot’s work and goals for this 2019-20 school year. CCF: Enroot recently expanded its programming to include two years of college support. How is this helping your scholars? Dananai Morgan: In the past, we were only supporting students through high school. With new funding, we are able to continue our programming through the first two years of college, which is a help because almost all Enroot students are first-gen college students, so many decisions like financial aid and course load [...]
Photo courtesy of Cambridge Agenda for Children Out-of-School Time Cambridge is full of bright opportunities for its young residents. With a vibrant nonprofit community and active arts and cultural organizations, the city offers a lot of promise to those who grow up here. Many youth and families, however, have difficulty accessing, navigating or affording the plethora of out-of-school opportunities. That’s why Cambridge Agenda for Children Out-of-School Time (AFCOST) helps youth find after-school activities that can help grow their passions and broaden their horizons through the Middle School Network (MSN). Back in 2009, the Mayor of Cambridge commissioned a report called Shared Youth, Shared Strategies, which found that just a third of Cambridge’s middle school-aged youth were involved in any after-school activity. According to Cambridge AFCOST Co-Director Khari Milner, the “highly problematic” low enrollment in after-school activities at that time was an unfortunate result of our city’s school system structure. Specifically, after-school programs mirrored Cambridge school’s K-8 system – offering K-8 activities that many middle graders socially grew out of and lost interest in. The findings led Milner, with Co-Director Susan Richards, to launch the MSN. Ten years into its journey, the MSN continues to live out its [...]